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New atheists trash Templeton conference on Trinity

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We usually end our religion coverage with the new atheists, but I’m in a rush this morning, and this is easy, so … via Jerry Coyne’s blog, here:

I reported earlier (see here and here), that the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF), as well as two seemingly reputable philosophical societies (the Analysis Trust and the Aristotelian Society), are sponsoring a conference in Oxford next March on “The Metaphysics of the Trinity: New Directions“.

The philosopher and atheist Anthony Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities and a supernumerary fellow at Oxford, didn’t like this conference at all, and expressed his displeasure. More.

Of course, the Trinity is a philosophical concept, whether a self-satisfied ignoramus chooses to understand that fact or not.

I’ve heard it argued—rightly or wrongly, Vince may perhaps say—that the concept of a “person” as understood today derives in part by ongoing discussion of what it would mean to be three persons in one.

Formerly, a “persona” was a mask an actor used in the Greek dramas, to amplify the voice. Useful, but not helpful philosophically.

Why is new atheism beginning to sound like the precious little asshats currently rampaging at U’s?

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The Trinity Explained - video playlist (InspiringPhilosophy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gCv-FAjgps&list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TWpnOJV09MuEAwbbQNCS6Qf
Dr. Egnor is in fine form with his reply to Grayling
An Open Letter to A.C. Grayling - Michael Egnor - November 23, 2015 Excerpt: Dear Dr. Grayling: I note with sadness your letter to the organizers of "The Metaphysics of the Trinity: New Directions." Remarkably, you demand that the conference be cancelled. As best I can discern, your reason for demanding the cancellation is that you don't like theology and you don't like metaphysics when it deals with theological questions. If your attendance at the conference were mandatory, I would share your outrage. Of course your attendance is not mandatory, so you are at no risk of involuntary metaphysical inquiry. Your demand for the cancellation of a conference because the topic is not your cup of tea seems a bit -- oh I don't want to use the word for it, because it denotes a certain intolerance. Perhaps you want your pre-approval of conferences to be the new norm at Oxford -- "Announcement: An Oxford Conference on [Fill in the Blank] -- Pending Approval by A.C. Grayling." It could get cumbersome. Oxford conferences would have to shut down when you're on sabbatical (although you could stay in touch by email), and you might be able to approve ideologically compliant conclaves before you leave. So let's say that you just don't want to go to the Trinity conference. I understand. Why would you -- a Bright -- want to be in a room where a bunch of Aristotelians and Thomists and serious philosophers and physicists of all stripes who could ask you questions? First Cause, Necessary Being, philosophy of science, teleology, quantum entanglement, aargh! You're an atheist, not a masochist! But all is not lost. Organize a conference of you own -- a sure protection from all those theistic microagressions. It could be about atheist metaphysics, except that title is a bit insipid. So, contra "The Metaphysics of the Trinity," here's a suggestion for the title of your atheist Oxford conference: "The Metaphysics of Nullity: How Nothing Happened and Then Nothing Made Everything for No Reason." It could be a part of a much bigger atheist project: "The Metaphysics of Entanglement from an Atheist Perspective: Why Look for a Reason When There Are No Reasons?" No doubt you'd get a big crowd. Even in Oxford, there are plenty of folks who wouldn't know a Prime Mover from a prime rib. You could pack the conference with the New Atheist vanguard. Imagine a room full of Brights tackling the metaphysical implications of Nothing! There could be some great speakers, and the topics write themselves: "Why Quantum Mechanics Is Nothing," by Lawrence Krauss "You Don't Have Free Will, Except When You Dent My Car," by Jerry Coyne "How Much Longer Do I Have to Do This Book Tour?" by Richard Dawkins "The Friendly Atheist, and Why We Need the Modifier," by Hement Mehta "Nature Red in Tooth and Claw -- Natural Selection in Your Comments Section," by P.Z. Myers "Why All Belief Is Evolved Natural Phenomena, Except Atheism," by Daniel Dennett "Don't Worry -- You're Not the People Who Should Be Killed for Thinking the Wrong Thing," by Sam Harris "I Have a Skeptical Brain and You Don't," by Steven Novella "'Put Your Hand Down, Johnny': When Asking Questions About Science Is Unconstitutional," by Josh Rosenau "Another Reason to Doubt the Relevance of Philosophy -- Except My Philosophy," by Jeffrey Shallit "What Am I Doing in This Room with These People?" by Michael Ruse. You yourself could give the keynote address -- "Shut Up and Cancel Your Conference!" -- about atheist engagement with religious perspectives. Perhaps you could organize breakout sessions on the unique contributions of atheism to religious freedom in the 20th century. Your discomfort with free expression has lavish precedent. Better yet, do try to go to the Trinity conference. You might learn something about metaphysics. The Trinity is perplexing, for sure -- How can a Mind be more than one person? -- but it's worth pondering. There'll be some pretty smart people there, and they'd love to have you join the discussion. They want to hear what you have to say -- they're kind of old-fashioned that way. Best regards, Mike Egnor http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/11/an_open_letter_1101111.html
Mapou, given your professed hatred of ‘most biblical doctrines,’ is there a particular religious tradition to which you subscribe? Do you call yourself a Jew, a Christian (or whatever stripe), a Muslim or some such?
I am a Christian.
What exactly leads you to remain a theist? Do you consider it possible that Yahweh is purely a human invention?
It's simple, really. The physical universe could not have created itself. Mapou
Re. Comment #9: Off-topic, but curiosity has me. Mapou, given your professed hatred of 'most biblical doctrines,' is there a particular religious tradition to which you subscribe? Do you call yourself a Jew, a Christian (or whatever stripe), a Muslim or some such? What exactly leads you to remain a theist? Do you consider it possible that Yahweh is purely a human invention? LarTanner
I have never seen any scripture that alludes to a triune God. Even in the old testament, we find passages that clearly points to a duality, e.g., 'The Lord said to my Lord, sit on my right side until I make your enemies thy footstool'. And by the way, this is the reason that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, something that Darwinists and biologists have never been able to understand or explain. "I and the Father are One" means exactly what it says. The Yin-yang duality is painfully obvious. Trinity is nowhere to be found. Why? Because it's an early Church invention during those days when they used to argue endlessly about angels dancing on pinheads. I am a rebel at heart and I really hate most Biblical doctrines, Protestant or Catholic. If the Churches were so infallible, I'd like to see them interpret the book of Revelation. Apparently, Yahweh does not think they are worthy enough to reveal its true meaning to them. Mapou
God, as the Holy Trinity, is easily inferred from Christ's own paradoxical words in the Gospels, Maps. Axel
Dear Mapou, I think you would find the reality of the Trinity very interesting. The very good and very simple explanation by Frank Sheed in Theology and Sanity is the best I have run across. The fundamental importance is that Reality itself (God) is a Community living in perfect Unity and bound together by perfect Love. God is not a solitary person with no equal to love. Nor is God a number of gods at loggerheads with each other. God Bless You GCS
The Trinity is pure nonsense invented by the Medieval Catholic Church, IMO. I already explained why above. It's not rocket science. Mapou
A simplistic way of explaining the Trinity so that a child could believe it was the way I had it put to me a long time ago. The Trinity is one what and 3 whos inside of the one being of God. It is kind of like how a human mind works. When you are thinking, who is doing the talking and who is listening? How does the subconscious and emotions fit into the mind and memory? I do not have a problem believing in the Trinity since I can see one inside myself. Simplistic? Yes and also true, we do not know how our own minds work, but we know that God cannot be a Triune Being? I think not. How it all works together is a mystery and to claim that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery is hardly a reason to say it isn't true. jimmontg
Nabeel Qureshi explaining the Trinity - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0 Questioning Jesus: Critically Considering Christian Claims with Dr. Nabeel Qureshi - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UpuEDp4ObA Published on Nov 18, 2015 On September 12th, 2015, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi addressed a full house at the University of Toronto on the topic “Questioning Jesus: Critically Considering Christian Claims.” Dr. Qureshi presented evidence for the Christian claim of Jesus and looked at alternative arguments and perspectives. After his talk he was joined by Dr. Andy Bannister for an open Question and Answer period. bornagain
Here is the philosophical argument that convinced me that God must exist in more than one person: This following video refines the Ontological argument for a maximally great Being into a proof that, because of the characteristic of ‘maximally great love’, God must exist in more than one person:
The Ontological Argument for the Triune God - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGVYXog8NUg
i.e. without this distinction we are stuck with the logical contradiction of maximally great love being grounded in ones own self which is the very antithesis of maximally great love.
"The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like "love" make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never." Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony http://iands.org/experiences/nde-accounts/736-never-wanted-to-leave-the-presence.html "The light is the sum of all love… give love and your reward will be the love you gave and the love you received… If you do not give love then all you will have is the love you were given,,, and that is still wonderful but why not add to the sum of all love,, It is like ruby’s and sapphires in heaven when we give love… Love is the currency of the next life… so give love…" Rudi – Near Death Experiencer
of related note: Interview: Dr. Mary Neal died in a Kayak accident and found evidence for the afterlife.
Imagine Heaven - Evidence for the Afterlife (with interview of Dr. Mary Neal) https://vimeo.com/140585737
Music and Verse
John Lennon - Instant Karma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqP3wT5lpa4 1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
We live in a Yin-Yang reality. Opposites are one. Duality (symmetry) is the rule and there are no exceptions. I see no place for any sort of trinity anywhere. In fact, every human being is a duality of two persons residing in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. One person controls the left side of the body and the other the right side. They are perfect metaphors for the Godhead as suggested by Jesus himself: "I and the Father are one", "I am in the Father and the Father is in me", "Let them be one with us as we are one together". Jesus (the Word) is analogous to the left hemisphere which is the hemisphere in charge of speech (word) production. The left hemisphere is also the servant/slave hemisphere because it obeys a master which is none other than the right hemisphere. In this context, Jesus insisted that he fully obeys the father in everything. Trinitarianism is pure heresy, in my view. Mapou
I had occasion to hear Dr. Grayling pitch his new book in a bookstore in Madison Connecticut last week. I ran across his new book a week earlier at the Yale B&N bookstore and browsed around in it for a time, and thus was anxious to see and hear him in person. As the subtitle indicates, Dr. Grayling advocates Humanism as superior to religion in the governance of human affairs, and I went to hear him in hopes that I may ask one question of him” “Can you name the nations or civilizations that have been successful and prosperous over a long period of time with humanistic governance such as you advocate?” I asked this of him because in my knowledge of history there are none, and yet this philosopher is asking us to place our faith in his teachings. There is however, a recent experience in governance under a state sponsored extreme form of humanism, and that experience has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for tens of millions of souls. That experience of course is the world wide Communist movement of the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba and elsewhere. It was preceded in centuries past by the French Revolution which based its foundational philosophies on the faith that man is the measure of all things, with God banished from the public square. This glorious experience in humanistic governance resulted in rampant bloodshed throughout France and the rest of Europe throughout the 19th century. Getting back to Dr. Grayling, his answer to my question was “China” at which point I asked, which China, ancient China or modern China, which caused the deaths of millions of Chinese? Ancient China was his qualifying answer where supposedly they had no gods. He then went on with a discussion as to how Communism was structured in much the same way as the Catholic Church in Russia, and thus Communism could be considered a religion (I agree, it is a religion.) There was more but I was having trouble hearing all he had to say. I don’t believe he answered my question in an honest way. So Dr. Grayling, given the models of the Biblical (i.e. religious) foundational philosophy of the founders of the Untied States of America Vs. the humanistic foundational philosophies of the French Revolution and Communism, I think I’ll stay with Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, Hamilton and Washington. More at: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/the-god-argument-the-case-against-religion-and-for-humanism/ ayearningforpublius

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